Edgar Allan Poe– Death of Annabel Lee

“Annabel Lee” is the last complete poem composed by Edgar Allan Poe.  It was written in 1849, but was not published until shortly after his death that same year.

This poem follows Poe’s favorite theme: the death of a beautiful woman; which Poe called, “the most poetical topic in the world”.  His frequent use of this topic most likely stems from the repeated loss of women throughout his life, including his mother, Eliza Poe, his foster mother Frances Allan and his wife, Virginia (who died two years prior to the composition of this poem).

It is unclear who Annabel Lee is, however, local legend in Charleston, SC tells the story of a sailor who met a woman named Annabel Lee.  Her father disapproved of the pairing and the two met privately in a graveyard before the sailor’s time stationed in Charleston was up.  While away, he heard of Annabel’s death from yellow fever.  Because he did not know her exact burial location, he instead kept vigil in the cemetery where they had often secretly met.

 

Annabel Lee
by Edgar Allan Poe

 
It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea,
But we loved with a love that was more than love—
I and my Annabel Lee—
With a love that the winged seraphs of Heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsmen came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulcher
In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half to happy in Heaven,
Went envying her and me—
Yes!—that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of  those who were older than we—
Of many far wiser than we—
And neither the angels in Heaven above
Nor the demons down under the sea
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling—my darkling–  my life and my bride,
In her sepulcher there by the sea—
In her tomb by the sounding sea.

Edgar Allan Poe’s “A Dream”…. lost memories a dark sun

Young Edgar Allan Poe

A Rare Portrait of Young Edgar Allan

“A Dream”, one of Edgar Allan Poe’s first poems (written in 1827), is rife with longing and sentiment for memories trapped forever in the past.

The poet’s dreams or “visions of the dark night” are more real…. more bright, than the waking light of day.  These “holy dreams” become his sun; even as the outside world tells otherwise.

This early work by Poe is part of a larger series inspired by the Romantic poet, Lord Byron, and includes the long title poem “Tamerlane”, which depicts an historical conqueror who laments the loss of his first romance.  Tamerlane and Other Poems includes themes of love, death and pride.

Poe’s “A Dream” captures a yearning to hold onto a lost past… a  lost love…. lost joy… lost inspiration; so much so, the poet’s truth becomes his dreams.

A Dream, by Edgar Allan Poe

In visions of the dark night
I have dreamed of joy departed-
But a waking dream of life and light
Hath left me broken-hearted,

Ah! what is not a dream by day
To him whose eyes are cast
On things around him with a ray
Turned back upon the past?-

That holy dream- that holy dream,
While all the world were chiding,
Hath cheered me as a lovely beam
A lonely spirit guiding

What though that light, thro’ storm and night,
So trembled from afar-
What could there be more purely bright
In Truth’s day-star?